“I don’t have the time.” I’m in so much pain.” “I can’t focus.” “I can’t think.”
And Just Breathe.
Meditation, Mindfulness, Being Present, Conscious, what does it mean?
Meditation by definition is to focus one’s thoughts on, or to engage in, contemplation.
Mindfulness is a mental state of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Again, what does this mean?
Let me tell you about an elderly client I recently treated. She came in complaining of hip pain, stiffness, decreased mobility, all due to a severe change in her lifestyle. She lost her vision and could not read, watch tv, go to the casinos, or even socialize with her friends. Every position I tried to put her hip into caused her face to scrunch in pain. We took a break and I had her focus on breathing. Deep breaths in and out of the nose. Then I had her visualize her hip, focus on the stiffness, the restrictions and breathe into the hip and relax it, asking her to relax her entire body; Letting go of tension anywhere in her body and focus only on her breathing. Like magic, within minutes I was able to stretch her like Gumby. All it took was 5 minutes. If she could do it, so can you. Don’t wait until your 80 to change the way you see and feel every moment. Do it today by reminding yourself to breathe.
Reminding yourself to breath becomes a form of meditation, for in this moment you stop any and all thoughts, and focus your attention on your breath. This leads you to a state of mindfulness, being present in that moment to what you are doing –breathing.
How to Breathe
I’m talking about deep, full, belly filling, chest expanding, collar bone lifting inhalations, and full stomach scrunching, chest deflating exhalations.
- Do this a few times, you can close your eyes to allow increased focus on your breath and body.
- Relax your entire body from your shoulders, bring them back and down to toes, making sure they are not curling.
- Focus solely on the breathing.
- Feel the cool air come into your nostrils and allow your diaphragm to lift up and your stomach area to push out, your lungs to fill completely, expanding your chest and feeling your collar bone rise.
- Focus on the warm air as you exhale through your nose, your stomach pushes in, your diaphragm relaxing, your lungs compressing and your chest surrendering.
I feel calm and clear already. I’m asking you throughout your day, in moments of pain and tension or even happiness and excitement, remind yourself to breath. This not only puts you in a relaxed calm state, it allows you to respond rather than react, and it allows you to breathe in the beautiful details of the memorable moments.
Just by reminding yourself to breathe, you are setting the stage to allow yourself to maybe sit in one place for 3-5 minutes to focus on your breathing. And then maybe you build up to 10 minutes, or you stay at 5, that’s the beauty of this practice, you choose your goal. If you aren’t looking to meditate to the level of a monk, and you just want some peace and clarity throughout your day, then remind yourself to just breathe.
Photo Credit: Dhara Patel